Look up! Vertical dance group Bandaloop dances among KL's skyscrapers

  • Arts
  • Tuesday, 12 Mar 2019

A pair of Bandaloop dancers rehearsing at the Pullman KLCC Hotel & Residences in KL on March 11. Photo: US Embassy

Vertical dance outfit Bandaloop from the United States is joining forces with local dance collective ASK Dance Company in a new collaborative dance performance happening at the National Art Gallery (NAG) in Kuala Lumpur at 8pm on March 12.

The performance called Tidal Constellations is co-hosted by the International Federation of Arts Councils and Cultural Agencies (IFACCA) and the National Department for Culture and Arts (JKKN) in conjunction with the 8th World Summit On Arts & Culture happening in KL from March 11-14.

This marks Bandaloop's first ever performance in Malaysia. It was founded by choreographer Amelia Rudolph in 1991 in Oakland, California to bring together dance, climbing and off-the-ground movement into site-reactive performances.

Through the years, Bandaloop toured the world and performed in a wide range of venues, including heritage sites in Old Jeddah City in Saudi Arabia, Yosemite Falls in California, China's Tianmen Mountain and 15th century cathedrals in Mexico.

"What you will watch at NAG is a performance that brings together both of our choreographies. You will see ASK dancers working into the Bandaloop choreography routine and then getting up in the air and Bandaloop dancers moving into ASK choreography," explains Thomas Cavanagh, Bandaloop's executive director.

Cavanagh says the collaborative work with Bandaloop and ASK (formed in 1994 as part of Aswara's Faculty of Dance) began several months ago via Skype.

"We tried to figure out how we could complement each others' work and even articulating ways to train each other as a cultural share," adds Cavanagh after a Bandaloop preview performance at the Pullman KLCC Hotel & Residences on March 11.

This is no ordinary dance performance at NAG, which is accustomed to more sedate traditional routines.

For starters, Bandaloop's vertical dance is a gravity-defying feat that weaves dynamic physicality and intricate choreography to turn the dance floor on its side.

By adding ASK’s own unique local contemporary style, you have a performance that not only promises to wow audiences with choreographic boldness but is also a testament to a modern dance union.

“This kind of cultural exchange allows us to look at diplomacy through the lens of an artist which is crucial. We want to see artists being able to not just use their voice to amplify someone else’s message but to have a message interpreted by the artists,” says Cavanagh, referring to the summit that will bring together leading policy makers, researchers and arts practitioners from around the world to address pertinent issues and examine how everyone can work together to lead change.

Members of the vertical dance company Bandaloop from the United States perform on the glass wall of an office building.

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